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are apt to escape recognition; even his admirers tend to see him as '"an exquisite manipulator 
of paint", or "a latter day Chardin". These views contain a particle of truth, but they leave out 
of account the fact that Braque is one of the last — if not the last — of a heroic line of French masters 
who, in the past hundred years, have revolutionized one by one every aspect of painting. Therein 
lies his enormous importance for the art of today — and tomorrow. Let us, therefore, try to see 
Braque's achievements in a historical context. 

To appreciate what a revolutionary artist has achieved, we must start by seeing what it was 
he reacted or rebelled against. Take Courbet, the first of the 19th century iconoclasts: we do not 
properly appreciate Courbet's greatness unless we realize that he overthrew the convention that 
morally elevating subjects, taken from history, legend or religion, were those most worthy of an 
artist's attention. Courbet thus established the artist's right to paint any subject no matter how 
humble and ordinary. Manet, on the other hand, was the first artist publicly to react against the 
academic cult of "finish" and "detail", which he sacrificed to a general impression or momentary 
revelation; hence the emergence of the sketch as an end in itself. Manet also showed how absurd 
was the time-honoured academic practice of painting in a gamut of intermediary tones keyed to 
a nuance dominante (a single dominant colour) and thereby made it possible for the Impression- 
ists, in their turn, to abandon chiaroscuro and revolutionize the painting of light. Gauguin 
attacked orthodoxy at yet another point: he challenged the supremacy of the classical tradition 
and established a new and no less valid set of aesthetic values deriving in part from primitive and 
oriental art. Cezanne, by contrast, was a counter-revolutionary in that he put back into painting 
the volumes which the Impressionists had been at pains to banish from it, and established a new 
relationship between form and colour. In the same way, Seurat, Van Gogh and Matisse — to name 
only the most prominent innovators — managed after titanic struggles to explode old fallacies, 
particularly with regard to colour and technique, and develop new and more expressive means of 
pictorial notation. But what did Braque rebel against? 

Braque himself would answer nothing, for he chooses to believe that he is no rebel; indeed, 
he once claimed that none of his actions had ever been deliberate, let alone revolutionary. Not- 
withstanding these words, I shall persist in regarding Braque as a rebel, for he has always been 
an active enemy of conventions in art as well as in life; and, involuntarily or not, he has been 
responsible — more than anyone else of our century except Picasso — for dismantling what remained 


of classical and Renaissance traditions and substituting a new range of artistic concepts in their 
place. I have not the space in which to do justice to all Braque's discoveries and innovations. 
However, I should like to discuss three of his most revolutionary achievements — ones that coincide 
roughly with the three main periods of his work. First, Braque's rejection of geometrical perspec- 
tive, which resulted in the cubist approach to pictorial recession; second, his refusal to be bound 
bv convention in his handling of artist's materials, which resulted in his exploitation of unorthodox 
paint-surfaces and a new kind of tactile values; and, third, his rejection, in recent years, of the 
accepted views of reality, which has resulted in his "metamorphic" view of appearances and an ambi- 
valent artistic vision which is neither figurative nor non-figurative but something between the two. 

Why did Braque reject perspective? For the true reason we must go back into the distant 
past. Ever since Brunelleschi had formulated certain principles of geometrical perspective at the 
beginning of the 15th century, painters had been obsessed with the problem of recession not only 
in landscape but in interior scenes and even still-lifes. Claude, for instance, was always at great 
pains to lead the eye gradually back into depth from plane to plane; he would place his figures, 
animals and clumps of trees strategically in the foreground, then further back a bridge or temple, 
then more trees and finally a river winding round mountains and over waterfalls before disappear- 
ing into an infinite blue remoteness. His deep understanding and observation of nature allied 
to a superlative artistic sensibility enabled Claude to transcend the artificiality of this so-called 
"ideal" approach to landscape. But in later, lesser hands Claude's picturesque formulae degenerated 
into a series of theatrical tricks — repoussoirs, an enfilade of side-screens and wings of rockery and 
stagey boscage — all devices to give the illusion of an unending spatial continuum. "Make your 
Landskip to shoot away,'''' wrote William Salmon, the 18th century author of an English do-it-your- 
sell book on painting, "and make one part lower than the other, that the landscape may appear to 
be taken from the top of a hill." No wonder so many picturesque landscapes, whether by Zucarelli, 
Vernet or Richard Wilson, look about as real as peep-show decors, as witness those eternal plunging 
views taken from a high terrace of a never-never land which is neither Italy, France nor England. 
By the end of the 18th century, no European artist would have dreamed of disagreeing with Thomas 
Campbell's lines: 

'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view 
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.' 

\nd even the perceptive Hazlitt wrote an essay on the same questionable theme, entitled Why 
distant objects please. 


Fig. 1 - LA JEUNE BRETONNE 1901. Oil on canvas: 55 X 46 cm. (21 5' X 18 in. 

Monsieur Menachcm Rosensajt, Montreux. 

In certain last outposts of academic resistance this equation of distance with enchantment still 
persists. But in France the reaction against it began just over a hundred years ago, when Courbet 
painted landscapes in which nature is rendered in all its density and earthiness, and not as if it 
were as flimsy, picturesque and remote as stage scenery. Then came Cezanne who dispensed 
with most of the traditional aids to recession, especially in his late works which are based on a new 
kind of colouristic perspective. But Cezanne did not set himself up as a theorist and did not 
apply his ideas scientifically nor even try to follow them to their logical conclusions. No more 
is Braque a theorist: on the contrary, he has the greatest mistrust of intellectual formulae and 
always relies on instinct and intuition. However, quite early in his career, he perceived the full 
implications of Cezanne's discoveries; at the same time, he saw "the downright dishonesty" of the 
tricks by which Renaissance and post-Renaissance artists achieved their illusory effects of distance. 
By the same token he saw that it was a lie to try to represent three dimensions in terms of two. 
The two-dimensional surface of canvas or paper must be respected. Here are Braque's own words: * 

•• i he whole Renaissance tradition is repugnant to me. The hard-and-fast rules of perspective which it 
succeeded in imposing on art were a ghastly mistake, which it has taken four centuries to redress; Cezanne 
and after him Picasso and myself can take a lot of credit for this. Scientific perspective is nothing but eye- 
I' ><>ling illusionism; it is simply a trick - - a bad trick — which makes it impossible for an artist to convey 
a lull experience oi space, since it forces the objects in a picture to disappear away from the beholder instead 
of bringing them within his reach, as painting should. Perspective is too mechanical to allow one to take full 
ssion ol things. It has its origins in a single viewpoint and never gets away from it. But the viewpoint 
is of little importance. It is as if someone spent his life drawing profiles and ended by believing that man 
'>ii' eyed. When we arrived at this conclusion, everything changed, you have no idea how much." 

To Braque it followed that if the artist were ever "to take full possession of things", he must 
represent an object from all sides, or at any rate from more than one side, simultaneously; hence 
the multiple — or "simultaneous", as they w 7 ere usually known — views that are such a feature of 
cubist pictures. It likewise followed that the artist must dispense with the vanishing point of 
traditional perspective and represent space, which is infinite, as if it were finite. And so Braque 
set about reducing the spatial element to a shallow recession in order to bring everything as near 
in the surface ol the canvas as possible. Again, to bring things within our grasp, Braque started 
10 (acei and fragment his forms, because, as he said, "this was a means of getting as close to 
'l |( ' objects as painting allowed. Fragmentation allowed me to establish a spatial element as well 
as a spatial movement." 

Note: All quotations are taken either from the various statements that Braque lias published, notably his invaluable interview with 
' ), " :i Valliei (Cahiers d'Art, IT,);, or from conversations that the author lias had with him. 


At first, this process must seem puzzling, but if we examine a series of Braque's landscapes 
painted between 1905 and 1909. it is not difficult to follow. Unlike Picasso, Braque was not a child 
prodigy, and his early works — -such as that reproduced on plate 1 — presage neither rebelliousness 
nor genius. This conventional, sub-impressionist view of Honfleur is, however, interesting because 
it shows that, even at the start, Braque did not see things pictorially in terms of receding planes. 

Braque's conversion from a moderately talented student into an artist of the highest promise 
happened with startling abruptness. At the Salon d'Automne of 1905 his eyes, he says, were 
"suddenly opened by the novelty, the physical excitement, the youthfulness, the paroxysmal qualities" 
of the fauve painters — and of Matisse and Derain in particular. Fired by their example, he took 
to painting pictures in which light was transposed into primary colours, not represented in terms 
of le ton juste, as it had been by the Impressionists. At the same time, the forms in his pictures 
became flatter and the spatial element more shallow; in the typical fauve landscape that we see 
on plate 2. the foreground trees, far from providing the setting for a distant prospect, blend with 
and frame a mass of buildings and rocks that prevent the eye from penetrating further. Even 
in La Calanque (plate 3) — a somewhat exceptional work, because it allows us a free view to the 
horizon — everything is brought near to us and flattened as in a tapestry. Likewise L'Hotel 
Mistral a I'Estaque (plate 4) which was painted a few months later, during the autumn of 1907. 
and which is a key-work in Braque's changing attitude to recession and the representation of form. 
This transitional — partly fauve, partly Cezannesque — picture, which was started at L'Estaque on 
the Mediterranean coast and finished in Paris (after the artist had visited the retrospective exhi- 
bition of Cezanne's works at the Salon d'Automne), is still fauve in its tonality and mildly expression- 
istic style. However, it has little or no recession. At the same time, the forms — like Cezanne's forms — - 
are more clearly defined, emphatic, angular and closer to the surface of the canvas than those in 
previous works. Here we have the earliest premonitions of cubism — the style that was to find 
its first full expression in landscapes of the following year (e.g. plate 8) — and the proof that. 
in the space of only two years, Braque had become a modern painter, one of the two or three 
most inventive of his generation. 

The speed with which Braque effected his evolution from fauvism to cubism is immediately 
apparent if we compare plates 2 (summer, 1906) and 8 (summer, 1908) which depict almost 
identical views of L'Estaque. In plate 2 Braque is mainly concerned with rendering the brilliance 
of southern light and creating a decorative schema; he dispenses with recession and accepts the 
lack of a spatial element in his picture. In plate 8, on the other hand, Braque has managed, 
despite a comparable lack of recession, to surround his very solid looking forms with an almost 
tangible expanse of space — a conjuring trick which he could not have brought off without Cezanne's 


help. The muted ochres and viridians— a far cry from the primary colours of plate II— are Cezan- 
nesque: so is the articulation of the planes and the way they are faceted and tonally contrasted 
in order to conjure up space and volume. But Braque has gone much further than Cezanne and 
led to its conclusion the famous dictum of the Master of Aix (published for the first time the 
vious autumn): "Treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere and the cone." In doing so. he has 
imposed his own vision on the landscape instead of allowing the landscape to impose itself on him. 
Moreover, by virtually excluding the sky — what little we can see is painted the same ochre as the 
and In faceting his forms and tilting them at various angles to the surface of the canvas, 
Braque has managed to bring everything within our grasp and to confine the pictorial space in 
such a way that we are made to feel it as a tangible, measurable element. When this and other 
similar views of L'Estaque were submitted to the Jury of the Salon d'Automne in 1908, they were 
all rejected. Matisse remarking that they were made of "little cubes". And when the reactionary 
critic Yauxcelles, reiterated this quip in print, the useful but misleading term, "cubism", originated. 
Thus Braque's L'Estaque pictures of 1908 are land-marks in the history of modern art. All the 
same, we must never forget that, between 1909 and 1914, cubism — which can be summarized as a 
conceptual, as opposed to perceptual, means of representing form and space and recreating the 
reality ot things — was a joint venture on the part of Braque and Picasso. "It was as if we were 
two mountaineers roped together" was Braque's comment many years later. 

The last landscape (plate 7) which I have chosen in order to show Braque's progressive 
rejection of conventional perspective and recession was painted a year later than Les Arbres a 
I 'Estaque — that is to say in 1909 — and is one of a series of eight depicting the picturesque Seine- 
side village of La Roche-Guyon with the castle of the La Rochefoucaulds perched above it. What 
a long way we have come from the plunging views of the picturesque tradition! What a long 
way from Cezanne, though the latter's influence remains ever present in Braque's work, even if 
less and less perceptible! And what a long way from Braque's own works of two — let alone four — - 
years before! Here the sky is completely excluded and even the top-most buildings are painted 
as il within our reach. Plate 7 is the first and most naturalistic painting of the series, but in sub- 
sequent versions of the subject Braque reduced everything to a complex of faceted shapes that rise 
in tiers and yet appear to be tumbling out of the picture at the spectator. Claudian principles 
have thus been completely reversed. By bringing objects so near to the surface of the canvas, 
the artisl puts us into the closest possible touch with the physical reality of things and draws us 
into their spatial environment. 

\t this point Braque perceived that still-life would lend itself even better than landscape to 
test inn l,i s new pictorial conception. So, after the Roche-Guyon pictures, he turned his back on 


Fig. 2 - NATURE MORTE AUX CRUCHES 1906. Oil on canvas: 60 X 50 cm. (23 5 8 X 19 3 ' 4 in. 

Fine Arts Associates, New York. 

the natural scene and, with a few rare exceptions, did not concern himself with it again for almost 
twenty years, that is to say not until he embarked on a series of beach pictures towards the end 
of the 1920's. In these Braque continued to draw on his cubist discoveries, but made no serious 
attempt to analyze forms; and again in his most recent landscapes (e.g. plate 53) he evokes the 
tactile qualities rather than the basic structure of nature. "After 1909, I ceased to be primordially 
a landscape painter," he has said. 

Braque's struggle to make the objects in a still-life advance towards us instead of receding 
away from us can again be followed — like his parallel struggle with landscape — in a series of 
representative pictures. Already in figure 2, a conventional exercise in an idiom owing as much 
to Cezanne as to Matisse, there is little enough recession. But in plate 5, a cardinal work which 

Braque claims as his "first cubist still-life" — this was the first composition he did from imagination, 
a principle he followed in all his subsequent cubist and post-cubist works — perspective has been 


discarded and we arc shown more of each object than the eye could normally see. (As Picasso once 
said, "in cubism you paint not what you see, but what you know is there." In plate 6 this process 
is carried much further: the objects fall out of the canvas at us. like the houses in some of the 
Roche-Guyon pictures, and we have the feeling that we can actually see round the guitar and the 
fruit-dish. Then in plates 9 and 10 (versions in different media of the same composition) it 
is carried further still. Here Braque has abandoned not only perspective and recession but almost 
all reference to natural appearances. The objects merge with one another, with the space sur- 
rounding them and with the background. Indeed, only a practised eye can decipher them: a 
bottle of "Old Tom" gin. a glass, a packet of cigarettes and a playing card on a small table with a 
drawer (the lettering on the right refers to Fox's English Bar, a favourite rendez-vous of the 
Cubists and their friends). Small wonder that the fascinating, if difficult, pictures that Braque and 
Picasso executed at this, the closest, period of their collaboration are referred to as "hermetic", or 
that, despite their obsession with reality, the two artists faced the danger of falling into total ab- 
stractionism; too much had been sacrificed to spatial and formal considerations. 

At this crucial juncture — roughly at the beginning of 1912 — Braque and Picasso reverted to 
a more legible style. But they were not really saved from their dilemma until, between them, they 
had evolved the techniques of collage and papier colic (figure 3 illustrates the first of these). Papier 
colle — which I discuss at greater length in a subsequent section — was an extremely valuable dis- 
covery, because it revealed to the artist how he could reduce everything to flat planes and thus 
respect the two-dimensional surface of paper or canvas, while at the same time conveying the 
illusion of a spatial element. It also made possible the style that has come to be known as "Syn- 
thetic" cubism — the final episode in the Cubists' campaign to liberate art from the tyranny of 
Renaissance science. For instead of breaking down reality analytically into its component parts, 
the artist was now able to achieve as good, if not better, results by employing the reverse process, 
that is to say by reconstructing reality synthetically out of a heterogeneous assortment of elements 
that were flat and pictorial, but not necessarily representational. The consequences of this total 
rejection of formal indications as well as perspective and recession changed everything not only for 
Braque, Picasso and other lesser Cubists, but for the subsequent development of art. If so many 
modern paintings have an immediacy and reality which is not to be found in the art of the past, 
it is largely because Braque — and Picasso — brought nature back within our grasp. At all events. 
it is undeniable that in the space of four years the two inventors of cubism changed the whole 
course of still-life and landscape painting. "From then on," says Braque, "all kinds of new develop- 
ments be< ame possible." 

I 1 

Fig. 3 - COMPOTIER ET VERRE Autumn 1912. Collage and charcoal: 60 X 44 cm. (24 x 17 1/ 2 in.) Private Collection, France. 

JN o less tar-reaching in its consequences has been Braque's revolutionary attitude to what the 
late Mr. Berenson described as "tactile values." Tactile values, said Berenson. "occur in represen- 
tations of solid objects when communicated in a way that stirs the imagination to feel their bulk, 
heft their weight, realize their potential resistance, span their distance from us and encourage us, 
always imaginatively, to come into close contact with, to grasp, to embrace or to walk around them." 
And Berenson cites Giotto and Masaccio as perhaps the greatest purveyors of tactile values — values 
which raise the works of these artists onto "a higher plane of reality" and endow them with a "greater 
degree of material significance." Few of us, I am sure, would quarrel with Berenson's view that the 
presence of tactile values enhances the power of a painting. Unfortunately, however, Berenson 
was so absorbed by Italian Renaissance art that he did not see beyond it and try to pursue his idea 
through its later manifestations in 19th and 20th century painting. Far more than either Giotto or 
Masaccio. Cezanne endows what Berenson calls "retinal sensations" with tactile value. What 
admirer of modern art is not stirred to "feel the bulk and heft the weight" of Cezanne's apples? 
However, although Cezanne conveys a fuller experience of a still-life than any of his precursors, 
Chardin included, there is one tactile aspect which he never really tackled: so preoccupied was 
he with establishing his apples or onions, glasses or bottles as objects in space, that he overlooked 
their textural properties. In a painting by Cezanne, one cannot easily distinguish between a real 
or a paper flower, a real or a wax apple, a stone or a wooden table-top. What mattered to Cezanne 
was that their volumes should accord with his pictorial conception. This is no less important to 
Braque. But Br acme's still-lifes are an advance on Cezanne's to the extent that the reversed per- 
spective enables the artist to make objects more immediately tangible and because their textural 
properties are rendered in all kinds of subtly contrasted and expressive ways. Braque disclaims 
all knowledge of Berenson's theories, but instinctively and intuitively he has arrived at some of the 
same conclusions. "It is not enough to make people see what one has painted," he has written, 
"one must also make them want to touch it." And again, "there are two kinds of space: visual space 
which separates objects from one another: tactile space which separates objects from us." Let us 
briefly try to see how Braque has put these ideas into practice. 

Not for nothing is Braque the product of a family of house-painters. Since he himself spent 
more than three years learning the tricks and secrets of the trade — marbling, wood-graining, letter- 
ing and every kind of decorative effect- — lie has always known how to give life to his materials, and 
even his earliest paintings betray an innate painterliness. Take the fauve landscapes: Braque's have 
a richer, more varied and more seductive paint-surface than those of Derain or Vlaminck, although 
their execution may be less sine and their effect less exhilarating. Likewise even in cubist com- 
positions ol 1 ( ) 10-1 91 2, when Braque and Picasso were trying to eliminate the personal element in 


painting by suppressing their quirks and mannerisms, Braque's pictures are distinguished by subtle 
and painterly passages, which Picasso would probably have thought too redolent of art for art's sake 
for his own works. 

Earlier I have emphasized that cubism should primarily be seen as a joint venture. Never- 
theless Ave are still entitled to differentiate between the contributions of its two creators: between 
Picasso's phenomenal vitality and plastic awareness and Braque's feeling for the ingredients and 
properties of different kinds of pigment and his instinct for new combinations of media. In par- 
ticular, it was Braque who first realized that whereas the traditional attitude to subject-matter, 
colour, composition, academic finish, representationalism and perspective had been — or was in the 
process of being — revolutionized, only one important pictorial element still remained sacrosanct: 
the artist's medium. Courbet, Manet, Monticelli, Gauguin, Seurat, Van Gogh — to name but the 
most obvious examples — had used oil-paint in original ways to suit their various purposes, but in 
the last resort had always respected the purity of the medium. Braque felt no such compunction. 
Thus he was the first (in 1910) to use sign-Avriter's lettering as a pictorial element (e.g. plates 13, 
14 and 17), because, said he, letters "were forms which could not be deformed: being two- 
dimensional, they existed outside three-dimensional space: their inclusion in a picture allowed one 
to distinguish between objects which were situated in space and those which belonged outside 
space." Braque was also the first to mix sand, sawdust, ashes, metal filings and even tobacco with 
his paint to give it added substance as well as to enable him to vary his textures (e.g. plates 12, 
17 and 18). Most important of all, it was Braque who saw the full implications of Picasso's 
discovery of collage and devised the technique of papier colle: the incorporation into a picture 
of pieces of cut and pasted paper. 

The first papier colle (figure 3) was created at Sorgues in the autumn of 1912, at a time when 
Braque was trying to see how positive colours — hitherto banished from cubist painting, "because 
they would have been a distraction" — could be reconciled with the cubist conception of represent- 
ing form and space. At first he had hoped to equate colour with texture, varying his paint surfaces 
and exploiting his repertory of decorator's effects. But this proved to be only a partial solution. 
The advantage of papier colle was that it enabled him to separate the pictorial functions of form, 
as represented by drawing, and colour as represented by pieces of cut paper; it also enabled him 
to represent an object — such as the newspaper in plate 15 — by an exact equivalent of itself. At 
the same time, it opened the door to a new range of tactile effects, injected an extra measure of 
reality into pictures and undermined the cult of belle peinture by establishing the artist's right 
to make a work of art with the humblest materials. Going still further, this discovery meant that 
Braque was able to cross the traditional barrier between sculpture and painting, because his pic- 


tare became what he and Picasso called a tableau-objet — that is to say, something which is not a 
mirror-image of nature or a wall-decoration, but an autonomous object with an identity of its own. 

Instead of being acclaimed for his inventiveness and daring. Braque was accused by colleagues 
and critics alike of defiling the noble medium of oil-paint and of perversely ennobling the tricks 
and materials of a decorator. Granted. Braque — no less than Picasso, who shared in his discoveries 
and exploited them in a more sensational manner — paved the way unintentionally for many of 
the freakish and frivolous experiments in texture and matiere which plague us today: the burnt 
burlap of Burri. the sandy wastes of Tapies. the torn blue-jeans of Arthur Dove, or the stuffed 
birds of Rausthenberg. But. b\ and large. Braque 's imaginative approach has enriched and widened 
the artist's technique and been responsible for many valuable developments in the work of men 
as disparate as (iris, Laurens, Boccioni. Schwitters. Arp, Ernst, Miro and de Stael. Braque himself 
went on to imitate papiers colics in trompe I'ceil passages of paint. Compare, for instance, the 
papier colic reproduced on plate 15 with the oil-painting on plate 17 in which some of the same 
objects appear. In the papier colic the musical instrument is represented by a piece of wood- 
grained wall-paper; in the painting by an area of brown pigment combed to imitate wood-graining. 
Likewise in plate 15 the newspaper, Le Quotidien du Midi, is represented by itself, whereas in 
plate 17 it is simulated in paint; and look how in plate 15 the different pieces of cut paper are 
contrasted with one another, just as in plate 17 thick impasto is contrasted with thin, faux marbre 
with faux hois, and drawing in paint with drawing in charcoal. The subtlety of these tactile 
contrasts, which play an essential part in the organization of "Synthetic" cubist pictures, adds 
another dimension to our enjoyment in the same way that combinations of texturally contrasted 
ingredients make a dish more appetizing. 

"In painting, the contrast between textures plays as big a role as the contrast between colours," 
Braque has gone so far as to say. "I profit from all the variations in matiere, and the colour takes 
on a much deeper meaning... and has much greater diversity. With a lacquer, for example, which 
is transparent, and an ochre which is opaque one can arrive at a harmony, that is to say one can 
confront opposites just as with colours. But then what is colour really? When one says red or 
green, one says nothing. II it is a crimson lake, it is one thinsr; if it is a red ochre, another — and 
so on ad infinitum. Oh what a difference!" Although these ideas first manifested themselves in 
works of 1912-14, the artist did not exploit their full possibilities until after the war, when he 
painted a series of still-lifes in which the forms are flat, like those in early "Synthetic"" cubist works, 
but which are noticeably more colourful and more varied in texture. Another innovation: Braque 
painted these compositions on a black ground to give resonance to the colours and help him to 
evoke depth without having to indicate recession; one feels that the forms might be floating on 


Fig. 4a and 4 b - CANEI'HORAE 1922. Oil and sand on canvas: 180x722 cm. (703/ X28*/., [ n> ) 

Muscles Nationaux de Frani e. 

the surface of a dark pool. Plate 18 provides an outstanding example of this new procedure. 
The texture changes from one part of the picture to another; the right-hand half of the guitar is 
grained to resemble wood and is highly varnished; some background areas arc built up to give a 
feeling of density and depth; shiny and matt surfaces are juxtaposed and certain sections enlivened 
with pointillistic brushwork. Especially skilful is the passage in the foreground where the texture 
and tonality ot four whiteish objects — the high-lit front of the table, the thickly impasted clay pipe, 
the thin matt paint of the ace of clubs and the polished ivory dice — are set off against each other so 
effectively that one's hand itches to touch them, and placed so cunningly that the eye feels it is 
being lead deep into the middle of the picture. What better example of "tactile" space? All this 
is i he more remarkable for being achieved — as almost always when Braque has complicated prob- 
lems to solve — with an appearance of extreme simplicity. 

Braque could not achieve this degree of tactile perfection if he did not take the utmost care 
over the priming of his canvases. '"The priming," he once said, "is at the basis of everything else, 
just like the foundations of a house." Thus in the 1920's we find him preparing his canvases with 
a thickish sandy layer of matt black paint, which Braque has compared to coffee-grounds or tea- 
luxes, because, like a fortune-teller, he can "divine there things that others cannot see." This 
priming provides a marvellous foil for the flat lambent washes of colour with which he builds 
up his monumental Canephorae (figures 4 a and 4 b) and his somewhat ornate still-lifes (e.g. plates 
'2 1 , 22, 27 and 28) of the same period. But towards the end of the decade, when he started 
experimenting once again, he discarded the dark grounds — some of which (e.g. plate 27) are so 
thick and tarry that they threaten to extinguish the luminosity of the colours- — in favour of other 
types of surface. For instance, Braque painted a series of masterly Gueridons (e.g. plates 33 and 
34) in delicate washes of oil paint over a neutral-coloured priming of sand mixed with gesso, which 
enabled him to achieve an exquisitely powdery, fresco-like effect. He also executed a number 
ot highly simplified still-lifes (e.g. plate 38) in areas of thinly applied colour across which a net- 
work of fine white lines is often scratched. And he engraved slabs of plaster, painted black, with 
mythological scenes in the manner of a classical intaglio (figure 7 illustrates a recent example of 
ih is technique). Some of these experiments, it is true, tend towards the decorative, yet they are 
always redeemed and made meaningful by tactile qualities. Later, towards the end of the 1930's, 
Braque started work on a series of still-lifes (e.g. plate 43) — so thickly painted as almost to consti- 
tute bas-reliefs — which are often set off against a scumbled back-ground. One of the most impres- 
sive is a Vanitas (not reproduced but similar to plate 45) which has remained in the artist's pos- 
session. The beads of the rosary are built up with a thick, nutty impasto which seems to invite 
the spectatoi to finger it; and even the subject has been chosen for its tactile potentialities (as 


Fig. 5 - TE'I'E DE FEMME. Pencil. 

Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

Braque once said of the musical instruments in his cubist still-lifes, "I am always drawn to paint 
things which arc animated by touch"). How characteristic of Braque that a Vanitas — an allegory 
of the transience of human life and aspirations — should inspire him lor its tactile and not for its 
philosophical or religious possibilities! 

During and after the recent war, Braque continued to vary his surfaces in all kinds of subtle 
and ingenious ways; also he went to ever greater trouble in his search for appropriate materials: 
using wood panels for small cabinet pictures, nubbly sheets of antique paper for an edition of 
engravings, unprimed hessian to get a certain breadth or roughness, as in some of the Ateliers, and 
occasionally newspaper, cardboard or canvas of a silken fineness. But. for Braque, surface enrich- 
ment has never become an end in itself, as was sometimes the case with Rouault. any more than 
it has become an eye-catching device to distract attention from weaknesses of colour or content, 
as in the case of an artist like Dubuffet. Braque has always used texture to harmonize with or 
enhance the colours and forms of his figures, landscapes and still-lifes, and above all to give them 
added reality. Studying the plates in this book, the reader cannot fail to be struck by Braque's 
capacity for finding appropriate equivalents in paint for the rough glaze of a pitcher (plate 27), 
the thick nap of a billiard table (plate 52), the undulating surface of a field of corn (plate 53) 
or the powdery bloom, the shiny rind and skin of all kinds of fruit. Braque endows things with 
such a compelling feeling of life that one longs to reach out and touch them. And it is not only 
concrete things that Braque tempts one to touch. In his recent bird pictures (e.g. plates 67 
and 68) his skies have such tactile depth that one is persuaded that they are not just areas of 
blueish paint but an element in which birds could fly. I will always remember watching Braque 
at work on A Tire d'Aile (plate 67); for days and weeks he went on adding liquid greyish paint, 
layer by layer, until the canvas had become so caked with pigment that it could barely be lifted 
on and off the easel. The result is a sky that has an astonishing cumulus quality and seems more 
tangible than the bird — a typically Braquian paradox. Previously he had used a similar technique 
for the Louvre ceiling (figure 8) — Braque's first full-scale treatment of the bird theme — which again 
explains the marvellous azure depth of the sky in these panels. Braque convinces us that it would 
Ik possible and even pleasurable to feel, and not merely see, our way about his pictures, as we might 
feel our way on a dark night or in a dense fog, when distances have to be measured by touch as well 
as by sight. This is to convey a far greater measure of tactile values than any previous artist — let 
alone an art-historian like Berenson — ever envisaged. 


lVlcntion of these mysterious bird pictures brings me to the last of Braque's revolutionary con- 
ceptions that I want to discuss: his rejection of all hitherto accepted views of reality (surrealism 
included) in favour of a "metamorphic" — or what he also calls "poetic" — view of things and an 
ambivalent type of vision which is neither figurative nor non-figurative. What do these vague words 
''metamorphic" and "poetic" mean? Braque mistrusts explanations, for he is afraid of dissipating 
the mystery which is fundamental to his recent work, so perhaps the most tactful thing is to let him 
speak for himself: * 

" 'The only valid thins; in art is that which cannot he explained," I once wrote. I still feel this very 
strongly. To explain away the mystery of a great painting — if such a feat were possible — would do irrep- 
arable harm, lor whenever you explain or define something you substitute the explanation or the definition 
for the real thing. The same is true of science. Each time a new problem is solved, I feel that something of 
value has been lost. Instead of having matters made clearer, I should like to have them made even more 
obscure. // faut toujours augmenter le trouble. What about criticism? Critics should help people to see for 
themselves; they should never try to define things or impose their own explanations, though I admit that il 
— as nearly always happens — a critic's explanations serve to increase the general obscurity, that is all to the 
good. Poets are particularly helpful in this respect. Few ol them have understood the first thing about modern 
painting yet they are always trying to write about it... 

"There are certain mysteries, certain secrets in my own work which even I do not understand, nor do I 
try to do so. Why bother? The more one probes, the more one deepens the mystery; it's always out of reach. 
Mysteries have to be respected if they are to retain their power. L'art est fait pour troubler: la science rassure. 
If there is no mystery then there is no 'poetry", the quality I value above all else in art. What do I mean by 
■poetry'? It is to a painting what life is to man. But don't ask me to define it; it is something that each 
artist has to discover for himself through his own intuition. For me it is a matter of harmony, of rapports, of 
rhythm and — most important for my own work — of 'metamorphosis'. I will try to explain what I mean by 
'metamorphosis". For me no object can be tied down to any one sort of reality. A stone may be part of a 
wall, a piece of sculpture, a lethal weapon, a pebble on a beach or anything else you like, just as this file in my 
hand can be metamorphosed into a shoe-horn or a spoon, according to the way in which I use it. The first 
time the importance of this phenomenon struck me was in the trenches during the first World War when my 
batman turned a bucket into a brazier by poking a few holes in it with his bayonet and filling it with coke. 
For me this commonplace incident had a poetic significance; I began to sec things in a new way. 

"Let me give you another example. You go to lunch at a friend's house, smell the meal being cooked, 
and because you are hungry, say to yourself 'how delicious". But after you have eaten, you find the smell that 
hangs around the house nauseating. Yet it is the same smell as before. Everything changes according to cir- 
cumstances: that is what I mean by metamorphosis. When you ask me whether a particular form in one ot my 
paintings depicts a woman's head, a fish, a vase, a bird or all four at once, I cannot give you a categorical 
answer, for this 'metamorphic" confusion is fundamental to the poetry. It is all the same lo me whether a form 
represents a different thing to different people or many things at the same time or even nothing at all: it 
might be no more than an accident or a 'rhyme" ■ — a pictorial 'rhyme" by the way, can have all sorts of unex- 

* Note: The following statement, based on conversations which the author has had at various limes with Braque, is an excerpt 
from an article that appeared in The Observer (1 December, 1957). 


pected consequences, can change the whole meaning of a picture - - such as I sometimes like to incorporate 
in my compositions. 

"You see, I have made a great discovery: I no longer believe in anything. Objects do not exist for me 

i in so far as a rapport exists between them and between them and myself. In other words, it is not the 

objects that matter to me but what is in between them; it is this 'in-between 7 that is the real subject of my 

When one reaches this state of harmony between things and oneself, one reaches a sort of intellectual 

- what I can only describe as a state of perfect freedom and peace — which makes everything possible 

and right. Life then becomes a perpetual revelation. Ca, rest de la vraie poes'ie" 

Anyone acquainted with Zen-Buddhism will immediately be struck by analogies between 
Braque's ideas and some of its tenets. Was this resemblance fortuitous, I once asked Braque, for I 
knew that he had been intrigued by this mystical doctrine long before it had been made fashionable 
by the Beatniks. Braque said that he had never been directly influenced by Zen; he had simply been 
interested to discover how closely it corresponded in certain respects to views which he had held 
for most of his life and which he had originally formulated while convalescing from a war-wound 
in 1917-18. He admitted that he had never really studied Zen; all he had read were books by 
E. Hcrrigel (one of which, Le Tir a I 'Arc, he recently illustrated) and by the westernized Japanese, 
Daisetz Suzuki — an authority who is not taken verv seriously by the Japanese. Yet, for all that 
Braque's notions of Zen are highly subjective and based on imperfect understanding, I do not 
think we can properly appreciate the artist's recent work without reference to it. 

Zen — or rather Braque's idea of Zen — has brought into the open some latent feelings which 
had never emerged before and heightened others to which the artist had already given expression: 
for instance his prejudice against anything cut-and-dried, didactic or cerebral. Zen has also en- 
couraged Braque in his fatalism, in his cult of solitude and mystery — an essential ingredient of the 
pictorial poetry which he values so highly — as well as in his love of paradoxical or equivocal effects. 
Furthermore, it has confirmed his dependence on the subjective processes of intuition and reve- 
lation and. above all, his feeling of empathy. For Braque has an almost mystic and truly Zen-like 
ability to experience a kind of spiritual unity with whatever he may be painting, regardless of 
whether this is animate or inanimate — a bird, a cloud, a jug, or something that partakes of all three, 
01 that may even be nothing at all. However, I do not want to pursue this idea any further, 
because, as Braque so rightly maintains, there is no logic here, and whatever we try to pin down 
we destroy. Instead let us look at some of the paintings in which these ideas find their fullest 
expression — in particular the magnificent recent series of Ateliers. 

In order to understand what these Ateliers are about, we should try to visualize them in rela- 

on in the teal thing: to the various studios (two in Paris, two in Normandy) in which, for reasons 

of temperament and to some extent of health, Braque has spent most of the last fifteen years and 


Fig. 6 - EUROPA c. 1950. Engraved on plaster. 

Private Collection, France. 

which he has come to regard as a kind of microcosm of the whole universe. These austere, fastid- 
iously arranged rooms resemble one another in almost every respect, while being as different 
—above all in atmosphere — from other artists' studios as Buddhist temples are from Christian 
churches. One's first impression is that everything is blurred or veiled and in a constant state of 
flux. Contrary to usual practice, the huge windows face south instead of north, so that the light 
which is doublv filtered through panes of white-washed glass and curtains of fine linen is never 
constant and never entirely clear. Carefully disposed on easels and stands against the neutral 
background of curtains which divide these rooms are ever-changing displays of paintings, lithographs 
and drawings, framed and unframed. in various stages of completion. These are arranged in such 
a way that the artist, who is nothing if not a perfectionist, has most of his current output perma- 
nently before his eyes and can go from one picture to another making minute adjustments, or sit 
for hours contemplating them, meditating on the nature of art and reality and, as he says, "painting 
pictures in my head." Elsewhere in the studio canvases and frames are stacked; on a lectern is a 
pile of sketchbooks which Braque claims he uses as "cookery-books" to provide ideas and suggest 
subjects for compositions, for we must not forget that since 1909 the artist has never worked 
directly from life. Small tables are laden with artists' materials, while others are covered with pots, 
vases, musical instruments, bowls of fruit, pieces of sculpture, objets trouves, philodendron plants 
and all kinds of odds-and-ends such as occur in his still-lifes. And yet somehow the total effect is 
not contrived. One has the feeling that Braque is out to transform — or, as he would say, meta- 
morphose — -his chosen surroundings into art. So successful is he, indeed, that one can no longer be 
sure where everyday reality leaves off and pictorial reality begins. Could it be that the painted 
Ateliers are more real than what they represent? 

Time and again, from the cubist period onwards, Braque has discovered subjects for his pic- 
tures among the paraphernalia of his studio. Not, however, until 1936, did he consciously begin to 
exploit the full possibilities of his surroundings in a number of extensive interior scenes — salons 
and music-rooms as well as studios — which contain one or two usually female figures painting 
pictures or playing musical instruments (e.g. plates 42 and 46). These figures are undeniably 
impressive, but even Braque's admirers are apt to admit that they are not entirely convincing 
representations of living human beings. Braque may well have felt the same, for he soon eliminated 
them and, in 1938-39, took to peopling his interiors with an inanimate, but more lively-looking, 
assemblage of studio-objects — easels, cane chairs, skulls, palettes, set-squares, canvases, bottles, fruit- 
dishes and pots and vases of flowers, some of which we see in plate 44. Interiors or glorified 
still-lifes is the case may be, the major paintings of this immediately pre-war period arc more or 
less figurative compositions in which objects retain their identities and most of their physical char- 


Fig. 7 - TETE DE CHEVAL c. 1946. Bronze: length 94 cm. (37 in.) 

acteristics. But later, during the war years — years of solitude and sadness for Braque — the artist's 
approach to such subjects became more equivocal, more "metamorphic". Take, for instance, the 
two masterly interiors reproduced on plates 47 and 48, works which presage the mood of the later 
Ateliers. How arbitrary, yet how effective is the outline of the easel in the foreground of plate 47! 
Quite apart from its decorative, compositional role, this device enables the spectator to identify 
himself with the artist, because he can feel that he is actually seeing through and around the easel 
and thus in physical touch with the objects portrayed. 

<? Even more arbitrary is an interior, Le Salon (Musee d'Art Moderne, Paris), which Braque 
painted two years later (1944); the objects on the right-hand side of this picture have melted into 
one another and merged with the spatial element to the extent of becoming indecipherable. Yet 
this remains one of Braque's most memorable — and I would even say real — recreations of a room. 
From this same period date the superb interiors in which attention is focused on a single piece 
or conglomeration of furniture: for example the stove in plate 49, the wash-stand in plate 50, 
the rusty-looking Tables de Cuisine or the various Billards (plate 51 reproduces the most impor- 


tant). Thanks to Braque's craftsmanly feeling — amounting to a kind of empathy — for inanimate 
things, and his ability to represent a commonplace object as if it had a recognizable identity and 
organic existence all its own, these paintings are as meaningful, as imbued with life as Chardin's 
Chocolatiere or Van Gogh's Yellow Chair. By any standard they are masterpieces; all the same 
they do not — to my mind, at least — have as great a claim on our attention as the eight * triumphant 
Ateliers (1948-56) which they immediately precede, for the Ateliers constitute an entirely new 
approach to visual appearances. 

Nothing in these Ateliers is ever quite what it seems: sometimes shadows have substance, while 
things of snbstance turn out to be shadows; forms are flattened and flatness is given form; what is 
hard is painted as if it were soft; what should be opaque appears transparent and vice versa; objects 
arc only half indicated, or they merge with one another, become something else and disappear; 
patterned surfaces are introduced for no logical reason, while lines frequently lead nowhere and 
define nothing. One cannot, therefore, be sure whether certain configurations — for instance the big 
jar-like form in the foreground of plate 62 — in these Ateliers are intended to be real objects, 
such as one finds lying around the studio, or whether they refer to paintings of these objects, or 
whether they are real objects in the process of becoming painted ones. My third hypothesis is not 
as far-fetched as it might at first appear; such is Braque's passion for equivocal effects that he is 
quite capable of paying oblique tribute to the mystery of artistic creation — a mystery which 
fascinates him so deeply that he dreads the moment when a painting is finished and the creative 
process comes to an end. The bird, which appears in all but two of the Ateliers, raises similar 
problems. This is not a live bird — Braque would hardly allow a creature the size of an albatross 
to fly around his studio — nor has it any symbolical significance ("z7 n'y a jamais eu aucun symbole 
dans ma peinture" insists Braque). It is simply a picture within a picture, a reference to the 
large canvas (now destroyed) of a bird in flight which the artist had painted shortly before starting 
work on the series. There is another good reason for its presence: as we have seen, Braque has 
always been obsessed with the representation of space, and what more appropriate theme could 
such an artist And than a bird in flight? The sense of this is immediately apparent if Ave compare 
the various Ateliers; whereas in Ateliers II and 77/ the bird is clearly a "painted" image, in later 
ones (notably in Ateliers V and J'lII) it detaches itself from its background and floats freely round 
the loom, thus enlivening the spatial element. Then in the final version, Atelier IX (plate 62), 
the bird returns once more to its original background, where its fragmented remains — shades of 
cubism — ate impaled on a kind of cruciform scaffolding. 

Although numbered [-IX, the Ateliers in fact comprise no more than eight paintings, since Nos. VII and IX refer to the 
same picture, 1 Ins account of the scries is based on a longer analysis by the author which appeared in The Burlington Mag- 
aiine (June, 1955). 


Fig. 8 - CEILING IN THE LOUVRE I 1953. Oil on canvas: 211 X 272 cm. (83 X 107 in.) 

I have singled out the bird for attention, because it is the most prominent and also the most 
puzzling ingredient of these pictures, but other elements behave no less capriciously. Indeed, each 
picture is both a law unto itself and a reality in itself: this much is fundamental to Braque's 
aesthetic. Braque respects no system of pictorial logic; by virtue of his ability to create a magical 
"accord" between different objects and the space around them as well as between the various rhymes, 
accidents and passages of decoration that play such important supporting roles in his compositions, 
he can — and does- — permit himself every liberty. Colour, texture, form, theme, rhythm, design — 
all the elements are perfectly synthetized in the Ateliers as in a symphony. Analogies between 
painting and music are generally invidious, but no student of Braque can afford to overlook the 
significance of the artist's musical talent and sensibility (Bach and Satie are among his favourite com- 
posers). Quite apart from the numerous references to musical instruments, posters and scores in 
his still-lifes, it is revealing that Braque has described the Ateliers as symphonic works. 

I hope that I have not implied that of late Braque has been turning into an abstract painter. 
Quite the reverse. Braque despises the bulk of contemporary abstract art. Slick, superficial and 


mannered are some of the adjectives he applies to it. He reproaches most non-figurative artists 
with not having the guts to take risks — in Braque's eyes a terrible failing — and with avoiding issues, 
above all the crucial issue of pictorial reality. For, although his own work sometimes seems to 
suggest the contrary, Braque has never, even at the most hermetic phase of cubism, ceased trying 
to pin down reality. His starting-point may be nothing more than a meaningless arrangement of 
coloured forms, but his picture will not be finished until these coloured forms have ceased to be a 
mere abstract pattern, that is to say have "revealed their identity'' and simultaneously developed an 
organic pictorial relationship with one another, as in the Ateliers. This is inevitably a slow, com- 
plex and excessively risky process, depending as it does on intuition and moments of revelation. 
Every brushstroke is "a gamble. 

Given his highly idiosyncratic approach and method of working, it is not surprising that Braque 
— who is old and in poor health — has produced relatively little in recent years and has often been 
obliged to abandon or destroy a picture because he could not resolve it. A case in point is a canvas 
of a bird hovering which the artist has given up — temporarily? — after two or three years work. 
As in Balzac's Le Chef d'GLuvre Inconnu, the subject of this painting grew progressively less and 
less decipherable. And yet the less decipherable it became, the fuller was the experience of space 
that it conveyed. Braque once complained that the bird was "recalcitrant," that it "refused to 
declare itself." Nevertheless one had the impression that the whole picture-surface quivered with 
the fluttering movement of wings and that the complicated network of brush-strokes added up to 
something that would be warm and feathery to touch. Whether this extraordinary picture can 
ever be resolved there is no telling, but if it can be, it will surely rank among the most exciting 
and inventive of Braque's recent masterpieces. Others which I have in mind are the large Charrue 
(1960) — so tangible that one feels it could be cut of the canvas and set to plough a furrow — and 
some lyrical skyscapes (e.g. plates 67 and 68) in which a bird is used as a pretext for bringing 
the firmament within our reach. The latter have already been praised for their tactile qualities; 
however, tactile considerations should not be allowed to blind us to the mystery and poetry of 
these images. The more we look, the more we wonder: are these really clouds or moons or birds? 
Do not the dark silhouettes in plate 67 resemble a rocket heading through outer space towards 
some burnt-out planet, some ball of vapour? Likewise the moonlit sky in plate 68: this has such 
density that we could be at the bottom of the sea looking at some strange winged fish. Even the 
decorative foliate form on the left — an arbitrary, but integral part of the composition — can be 
interpreted in different ways: as a tree, a lichen, or the frond of some waterplant. It is this "meta- 
morphic" confusion, so carefully nurtured by the artist, which gives these pictures their power to 
move us, to haunt our memories. 


So much in these recent paintings is equivocal and unfamiliar that it is hardly surprising that 
people find them puzzling and esoteric. But anyone who is willing to sink himself in them and 
search out their special qualities will come to realize that, like some of Cezanne's late and often 
unresolved masterpieces, they are the expression of a new vision — above all a painter's vision— 
of the world. Because they point towards a solution of the most vexed problem in art today, the 
schism between representational and non-representational painting, I am convinced that in time 
they will prove to be of eye-opening significance for other artists. By reducing objects to pictorial 
metaphors, by relegating their identities to the melting-pot and dissolving their forms in a new kind 
of space, Braque transcends the limitations of both approaches. 


R. Bissiere, G. Braque (Paris, 1920). 

M. Raynal, G. Braque (Rome and Paiis. 1923). 

G. IsARLOV, G. Braque (Paris, 1932). 

Cahiers d'Art, 1933, Nos. 1-2 (Special Number). 

C. Einstein, G. Braque (Paris, 1934). 
S. Fumet, Braque (Paris, 1945). 

J. Paulhan, Braque le Patron (Paris and Geneva, 1945-46). 
Cahier de Georges Braque: 1917-47 (Paris, 1948). 

D. Cooper, Braque: Paintings 1909-17 (London, 1948). 
H. R. Hope, Georges Braque (New York, 1949). 

S. Fumet, Sculptures de G. Braque (Paris, 1951). 

A. E. Gallatin, Georges Braque (New York, 1953). 

Le Point, October, 1953, No. 46 (Special Number). 

D. Vallier, Braque, La Peinture ct Mous (Cahiers d'Art, No. 

J. Richardson, The Ateliers of Braque (Burlington Magazine, 
June, 1955). 

Verve, 1955, Carnets Intimes de Georges Braque (Special Number). 

D. Cooper, Catalogue of Braque Exhibition (Edinburgh 8: 
London, 195G). 

M. Gieure, G. Braque (Paris. 1956). 

M. Gieure, Georges Braque: Dessins (Paris, 1956). 

J. Richardson, Interview with Braque (Observer, December 1st, 

E. Encelberts, Georges Braque: (Euvre Graphique Original 

(Geneva, 1958). 

J. Richardson, Georges Braque (London, 1959). 

J. Russell, Georges Braque (London, 1959). 

N. Mangin, Catalogue de I'CEuvre de Georges Braque, 1948-1957 
(Paris, 1960). 



382 M.i\ 13th: Georges Braque bom ;u Argenteuil-sur-Seinc, 
only son of a peintre-decorateur. 

c. 1890 Family moves to Le Havre. 

S97 Attends evening classes et Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Le 

1899 Leaves school; apprenticed to local peintre-decorateur. 

[n Paris trains as craftsman; also attends evening art 

i Awarded craftsman's diploma; starts military service. 

_' Demobilized; decides to become painter: enrolls at Aca- 
demie Humbert; also visits Louvre and dealers' galleries. 

1901 Rents studio in Montmartre and works on his own. 

1905 I ms opened" (Braque*s words) by room of fauve paint- 
ings jln Matisse, Detain, Vlaminck etc.) at Salon 
d'Aitlomnt . enters -fauve orbit. 

I, Spends summer with Friesz painting fauve views of 
Antwerp, winter at L'Estaqne near Marseille. 

1907 Exhibits six pictures at Salon des Independents — all 
sold: spends summer at La Ciotat and L'Estaqne; returns 
in autumn to Paris, disillusioned with fauvism; signs 
contract with Kahnweiler; very impressed by Cezanne 
retrospective: meets Apollinaire who takes him to 
Picasso's studio; lust shocked then influenced by De- 
moiselles d' Avignon. 

1908 Summer at L'Estaque painting the first cubist landscapes; 
after being rejected by Salon d'Automne, these are 
exhibited by Kahnweiler at Braque's first one-man show. 

1909 Suramei al La Roche-Guyon; after returning to Paris, 
forms close association with Picasso: "Analytical" cubism. 

1910 Summer at L'Estaque. 

1911 Summer at Ceret (Pyrenees) with Picasso: "Hermetic" 

1912 Marries Marcellc I.apre; in July, joins Picasso at Sorgues 
(near Avignon), where he rents a house, his summer 
quarters for the next fifteen years; in September executes 
first papier colic: "Synthetic" cubism. 

191 1 Spring: Exhibition of 38 pictures in Dresden and Berlin; 
summer at Sorgues interrupted by mobilization. 

191 "> May 11th: Wounded in head at Carency (Artois); tem- 
porarily loses sight but recovers after trepanation; long 
convalescent e. 

1916 Summer: Demobilized with Legion d'Honneur and Croix 

lie ( . :,, , 

1917 Summer at Sorgues: begins to paint again; Leonce Ro- 
senberg becomes his dealer. 

1919 Exhibition at Leonce Rosenberg's Galerie de I'Effort 
Modei nc. 

1920 Kahnweiler opens Galerie Simon and again becomes 
Braque's dealer. 

1922 Exhibits IK important recent woiks at Salon d'Automne 
- all sold; moves from Montmartre to Montparnasse. 

1923 Winter: Diaghilev commissions decor for Les Fdcheux. 

1924 Paul Rosenberg, Braque's new dealer, holds exhibition; 
moves to new house built for him by Auguste Perret, near 
Pare Montsouris, Paris. 

1925 Diaghilev commissions decor for Zephyre et Flore. 

c. 1928 Instead of going south to Sorgues. takes to spending 
summers in and around Dieppe; paints small seascapes. 

1931 Builds country-house at Varengeville (near Dieppe). 

1933 First important retrospective at Basel and publication 
of first serious monograph (Einstein). 

1934 Retrospective exhibition at Brussels. 

1937 Awarded first prize at Carnegie International, Pittsburgh. 

1939-40 Retrospective exhibitions in Chicago, Washington and 
Sair Francisco. 

1940 June: After German break-through, takes refuge first 
in Limousin, then in Pyrenees; returns in autumn to 
Paris where he remains, working in isolation, for rest 
of war. 

1944 Resumes spending summers at Varengeville. 

1945 Serious illness; stops painting for several months. 

1946 Exhibition of recent work, Tate Gallery, London. 

1947 Spring: Serious illness (pneumonia); first exhibition at 
gallery of his new dealer, Aime Maeght. 

1948 Publishes Cahier de Georges Braque: 1917-47, a col- 
lection of thoughts and maxims on art: exhibits recent 
works at Venice Biennale, is awarded first prize. 

1948-49 Large retrospective at Cleveland Museum of Art and 
Museum of Modern Art, New York. 

1949 Jouvet commissions decor for Moliere's Tartuffe. 

1950 Exhibition of Ateliers I-V and other important recent 
works, Galerie Maeght. 

1952-53 Executes ceiling decorations for Louvre's Etruscan 

1953 Retrospective exhibition at Berne and Zurich. 
1953-54 Serious illness; stops painting for several months. 

1954 Completes stained glass windows for chinch at Varen- 
geville; publishes illustrations to Hesiod's Theogony, 
originally commissioned by Vollard in 1932. 

1956 Important retrospectives at Edinburgh and London 
(Tate Gallery). 

1957 Exhibition of recent work, Galerie Maeght. 

1958 Retrospective of entire graphic woik, Geneva: small 
retrospectives in Rome, where he is awarded prize, and 
Venice (Biennale). 

1959 Exhibition of recent work, Galerie Maeght, Paris. 

1960 Retrospective at Basel. 



PL. 1 - LE COTE DE GRACE, HONFLEUR. 1905. Oil on canvas: 50x60 cm. (19 3 /.x23 5 / 8 in) Musee des Beaux-Arts, Le Havre. 

In later years Braque destroyed most of his early 
works, but the jew surviving examples — either 
townscapes (as here) or portraits of relations or 
friends reveal that he was a moderately 

talent rd sin dent who expressed Jiimself in an 
agreeable, impressionistic style owing much to 
Corot, early Monet and, on one significant occas- 

ion (a large portrait of his mother which Braque 
recently burnt), to Toulouse-Lautrec. The con- 
trast between the hesitant, if nicely painted, pic- 
ture above and the dazzling landscape opposite 
proves how greatly Braque's style benefited from 
the influence of Matisse and the Fauves as well 
as from the impact of the Mediterranean scene. 

PL. 2 - L'ESTAQUE. 1906. Oil on canvas: 46 X 38 cm. (18 '/ 8 X 15 in. 

Private Collection, l',us< I . 

PL. 3 - LA CALANQUE, LA CIOTAT. Summer 1907. Oil on canvas: 60x73 cm. (23 5 / s X 28 3/^ in.) Perls Gallery, New York. 

When Braque exhibited a group of his fauve 
landscapes at the Salon des Independants in the 
spring of 1907, he sold I hem all. Thus encour- 
l, he relumed at once to the Mediterra- 
nean, this time to La Ciotat, between Marseille 
and Toulon. The landscapes which dale from 
tins second visit are no less fauve than their 
predecessors, but are less naturalistic and more 

personal and experimental than before. At the 
end of the summer, Braque returned briefly to 
L'Estaque, where he and his old friend, Othon 
Friesz, painted, the same view from the Hotel 
Mistral. After reluming to Paris and seeing the 
Cezanne Retrospective at the Salon d'Automne, 
he repainted his view (reproduced opposite) 
from memory in terms of form rather than light. 

Pl. 4 - VUEDE LHOTEL MISTRAL, LESTAQUE. Autumn 1907. Oil on canvas: 80x60 cm. (31i/ 2 x235/ g in.) Mr.andMrs. Werner E.J osten, New York. 

Pi .5-N VI URE MORI 1. AUX INSTRUMENTS DE MUSIQUE. Autumn 1908. Oil on canvas: 50 X 61 cm. (H> 3 / 4 X 24 in.) Monsieur Georges Braque Paris, 

Braque claims tluit the still-life above is his 
"first cubist painting", because it is the first 
which he did entirely from imagination and 
not from life: i.e., it is his first conceptual, as 
opposed to perceptual, work. Once liberated 
from models, Braque could take whatever pict- 

orial liberties lie liked. Here, for instance, he 
deliberately distorts the slight twist in the neck 
of the mandoline in order to show us more of 
the object than the eye can normally see. He 
repeats the same device luilh the guitar in the 
still-life opposite. 

Pl. 6 - GUITARE ET COMPOTIER. 1909. Oil on canvas: 55 X 38 cm. (21 V 2 X 15 in.) 

Hermann and Margrit Rupf Stiftung, Berne. 

I*i. T LA RO( III (.1 VON, ! I CHATEAU. Summer 1909. Oil on canvas: 80x60 cm. (31 3 / 4 x23 5 / 8 in.) Monsieur Rolf de Mare, Stockholm. 

"/ found that the exaltation which had overwhelmed 
rue on my first visit and which I had put into my 
(fauve) pictures was no longer the same," Braque has 
said of his third visit (with Raoul Ihify) to L'Estaque, 
in the summer of 1908; "I saw something else" What 
he saw is reflected in a series of Cezannesque landscapes 
- like the one opposite — works which gave use to 
the word "cubism". The following summer. Braqne 
went to I .a Roche-Guyon, a small town on the Seine 
near Mantes, and painted eight masterly landscapes 

— including the one above — of the watch-tvwer, 
viaduct and chateau of the La Rochcfoucaulds. These 
carried, cubism a stage further. In 1910, Braque 
returned once more to L'Estaque and painted a 
few views of the Rio Tinto factory. But by that 
time he had realized that the cubist conception could 
be better expressed in terms of still-life. It is a 
curious coincidence that Cezanne and Renoir had 
worked together both at L'Estaque and La Roche- 

Pl. 8 - LES ARBRES A L'ESTAQUE. Summer 1908. Oil on canvas: 80 x 60 cm. (313 .■ 23 s/ ;„.) 

Private Collection. France. 





PL. 9 - NATURE MORTE: FOX. 1911. Engraving: 55x38 cm. (2lV 2 X 1"- in. 

In 1911, when their stylistic resemblance was closest, 
Braque and Picasso were each commissioned by Kahn- 
weiler, then denier, to do a large engraving. Both 
(hose to <l<> n still-life incorporating more or less the 
same elements; and the resultant engravings — Bra- 
que's is reproduced above - ■ provide the clearest 
•ne o\ the artists' attempt to eliminate the 
personal element and arrive at a common style. But 
they also reveal that certain fundamental differences 
could not he ironed out. The Picasso is spontaneous 
and summary: the work of a draughtsman. The 

Braque is tentative and travaille: the work of a 
painter. And, although the liandling of Fox is notably 
more elaborate and varied than Picasso's, it would be 
invidious to say which was the better work. Braque 
subsequently executed a painting (opposite) which 
closely follows the composition of the engraving and 
includes the same references to cafe life - a bottle of 
"Old Tom" gin, a glass, a saucer marked 15 (cent- 
imes), a playing-card, a packet of cigarettes and so 
forth. The letters, Fox, refer to Fox's English Bar, a 
Parisian rendez-vous of the Cubists and their friends. 

Pl. 10 - BOUTEILLE ET VERRE. 1911. Oil on canvas: 55x38 cm. (21 ' 2 X 15 in.) Hermann and Margrii Rupf Stiftung, Berne. 

Pl. II - L'HOMME \l VIOLON. Winter 1911. Oil on canvas: 100x71 cm. (39 1 /* : 28 in.) 

Heirs of Heri Emil Bilhrle, Zurich. 

"7 he point o\ rwy oval compositions was that 
they allowed me to rediscover the contrast be- 
en horizontals and verticals," Brarjuc has 
mid. At the same tunc, he realized that an oval 
format would make his compositions more 
compact, there being no awkward corners to 

fill. Later Braque experimented with irregular 
ovals (e.g. plates 17 and 18) which make a 
pleasing foil for the flat rectilinear forms of 
"Synthetic" cubism; he also framed a series of 
still-lifes in octagonal, almond, lemon, diamond 
and eye shapes. 

Pl. 12 - L'HOMME AU GUITARE. 1914. Oil and sand on canvas: 130x72,5 cm. (51i/ 8 X28i/ ;„.) Monsieur Andre Lefevre, Parit 

Pl. 13 - NATURE MORTE AUX DES. 1912. Black chalk: 25 X 32 cm. (9 3/ x 12 V 2 in.) 

Private Collection, France. 

"Again with my usual desire to get as near to 
the reality of things as possible," Braque has 
said, "1 started to introduce letters into my 
pictures. These were forms which could not 
be deformed, because, being two-dimensional, 
/hex existed outside three-dimensional space; 
their inclusion in a picture allowed one to 
distinguish between objects which w ere situated 
in space and those which belonged outside 

space." In the above drawing the letters, ROS, 
refer to a sign for Vin Rose (30 centimes a 
glass). Note hoiu this sign is fixed to the wall 
by a trompe l'oeil nail (with shadow) - a device 
that points up the contrast between an object 
"situated in space" and one "belonging outside 
space", as well as the contrast between the 
conventional and cubist methods of spatial 


PL. 14 - LA BOUTEILLE DE RHUM. 1914. Oil and charcoal on canvas: 46x55 cm. (18V 8 ; X21 1 / 2 '»•) 

Private Collection, Garches. 

PL. 15 - VIOI.OX ET PIPE. Winter 1912. Collage and charcoal: 72x104 cm. (28 1/ x 41 in ) 

Monsieur Andre Lefevre, Paris. 





S^^^f^^S^f fzUiMsSfi^z/z* 

Pl. 16 - GUITARE ET CLARINETTE. 1918. Collage, charcoal and gouache on cardboard: 77 X 95 cm. (30 */ 4 X 37 */ 2 in.) 

T/;e Philadelphia Museum of Art (Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection). 

PL. 17 NATURE MORTE M Gl II \ R I 1913-14. Oil, charcoal and sand 

on canvas: 55 X 38 cm. (21 ^X 15 in.) Private Collection. New York. 

Pl. 18 - NATURE MORTE AU GUITARE. 1918. Oil and sand on canvas: 91x55 cm. (3!)3/ 4 x215/ 8 in.) Private Collection, France. 

PL. 19 ■ GUITARE, JOURNAL ET VERRE, 1917. India ink: 18x27,5 cm. (7 X IQ3/, in.) 

Private Collection, France. 

While convalescing from his war wounds, 
Braque, who was unable to paint, formulated a 
series of aphorisms on art and life, ivhich prov- 
ide a number o\ clues vital to an understanding 
<>\ Ins work. One of Ihese maxims is always 
being quoted - "J'aime la regie qui corrige 
I'emotion." Bui ii is characteristic of Braque's 
hire oj paradox that he subsequently emended 

this by adding the words, "J'aime I'emotion qui 
corrige la regie" — a truth which is born out 
by his later work. When these aphorisms were 
published in the literary review, Nord-Sud, in 
l c >17 . Braque embellished the pages with draw- 
ings (one of ivhich is reproduced above) exe- 
cuted in a linear technique suited to cheap and 
easy reproduction in black-and-white. 

Pl. 20 - LE GUERIDON NOIR. 1919. Oil and sand on canvas: 75 X 130 era. (29 1/ 8 X 51 1 / 8 in.) 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris. 

Pi 21 CLARINETTE, COMPOTIER ET GUITARE. 1918. Oil on canvas: 73 X 100 cm. (28 3/ 4 X 393 g j„. 

Kunstmuseum, Basel. 

Up to 1914, Braque was preoccupied with 
solving formal and spatial problems and had 
neglected the sensuous aspects of art. After 
the war, however, he set about humanizing the 
"Synthetic" cubist style in a series of still-lifes 
which are more naturalistic, richer in colour 
and texture and more lyrical in feeling than 
i hnr austere predecessors. Instead of painting 
on a ivhite or neutral ground, Braque now 
took tf) priming his canvases with black, because 

this gave added resonance to his colours and 
enabled him to suggest a degree of depth 
without resorting to three-dimensional illu- 
sionism. When the first fruits of this new style. 
— notably the Gueridons (e.g. plates 20 and 
22) — ivere exhibited at Leonce Rosenbergs 
Galerie de 1'Effort Moderne in March, 1919, 
Braque was at last acclaimed in Paris as a 
leading modern artist with a personality of 
his own. 

Pl. 22 - NATURE MORTE AU GUERIDON: "CAFE-BAR". 1919. Oil and sand on canvas: 160 X 82 cm. (63 X 32 1 / i in.) Kunstmuseum, Basel, 

Pi. 23 - Coroi TOR TRAIT DE CHRISTINE NILSSON. 1874. Oil on canvas: 80x57 cm. (31 1 / 2 X22 1 /, in.) Museu de Arte, Sao Paulo. 

The exhibition of 24 figure-paintings by Corot 
at the Salon d'Automne in 1909 was a revelation 
for Braque and many other artists. Corot's 
influence manijested itself shortly afterwards 
on the subject-matter and compositions of nu- 
merous cubist figure-paintings - - notably those 
with musical instruments (e.g. plate 11) — ■ by 
Braque and Picasso. But Braque 's admiration 
for Carol has persisted, as ivitness the Souvenir 
dc Corot (opposite), ivhich is not a copy but 

a variation on one of Corot's favourite themes, 
and also the various compositions (mid - 1930' s) 
of women-painters and musicians in interiors 
ivhich are reminiscent of Corot's subjects, if 
not his style. It is perhaps significant that Paul 
Rosenberg organized two major Corot exhib- 
itions at his Paris gallery in 1928 and 1930 } 
tJiat is to say when he was Braque' s dealer; also 
that a reproduction of Corot's Christine Nilsson 
is pinned to the wall of Braque' s studio. 

Pi.. 24 - SOUVENIR DE COROT. c. 1922-23. Oil 

on canvas: 41 X 33 cm. (IGl/ g X 13 in.) 

Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

PL. 25 - l)l->l(,\ FOR -IKS FACHEUX" (never executed). 1921. Pencil and watercolour. 

Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford. 

Before 1914 Braque had treated the human body as 

material for formal analysis; in the early 1920's, he 
in to explore its sensuous potentialities. The two 
monumental Can£phorae (figures 4 a and 4 b) paint- 
ed in l'J22 announce a numerous series of paintings 
i plate 26 is one of the finest) and large drawings 
in charcoal and sanguine which preoccupied the artist 
for the next five years. Unlike the figures of the 

cubist poind or of the I930's which are mostly clothed, 

these giantesses are naked 01 lightly draped, and they 

hold baskets of fruit in place of musical instruments. 
But they resemble later figure-paintings in that much 
about them is equivocal: they are monumental yet deli- 
quescent, decorative yet imbued with life, massive yet 
flat. While working on the series, Braque was com- 
missioned by Diaghilev to do the sets for Les Facheux, 
a ballet with music by Georges Auric. One of his pro- 
jects for a drop-curtain (reproduced above) was based 
on a Caiu'phore — note how both figures are framed in 
dark cloud-like shapes — but it was not found suitable. 

Pi.. 2G - CAXEPHORE. 1925. Oil and sand on canvas: 100x81 cm. (39 V 2 X 32 in.) 

National Gallery of Art, Washington {Chester Dale Collection). 

Pl. _'7 - ANEMONES. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas. 

Private Collection. 

Braque's popularity with European and Amer- 
ican collectors dates \rom the. early 1920's and 
was due in great measure to the success of the 
cabinet pictures — mostly still-lifes, rich in 
texture, sonorous in colour and often exagger- 
atedly oblong in format — which lie began 
In paint soon after the end of the first world 
war. Iti these he lends to eschew the uncom- 
promising style of his bigger, more adventur- 
ous works (or a naturalistic idiom I hat is a 
blend of modern and traditional elements. 

These charming paintings are one of the 
glories of the French still-life tradition — the 
20th century equivalent of works by Chardin 
or Desportes, Manet or Cezanne. Vases of 
anemones (as above), bowls and baskets of 
peaches, figs and grapes (e. g. plates 31 a 
arid b), plates of oysters and mussels and 
groups of musical instruments: these and other 
attributes of the good life are evoked with 
a sensuousness usually reserved, for the human 

Pl. 28 - BOUTEILLE, VERRE ET FRUITS. 1924. Oil and sand on panel: 53x55 cm. (20 1/g' X 21 % in.) 

Lord Amulree, London. 

PL. 29 • MANDOLINE, VERRE, PICHET ET FRUITS. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas: 80x114 cm. (3U/ 2 x44l/ 8 in.) Tate Gallery, London. 

Willi a small repertory of still-life objects 
Bran lie lias managed to obtain an amazingly 
wide range of effects. The composition of these 
two still-lifes is virtually the same, but whereas 

the one reproduced above is soft and deli- 
quescent in treatment, plate 30 is conceiv- 
ed in terms of the flat planes of "synthetic" 

Pl. 30 - GUITARE, PICHET ET FRUITS. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas: 73,5 X91,5 cm. (29 X 3G in.) 

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Schuster, New York. 

Pl. 31a - NATURE MORTE .MX FRUITS. 1924. Oil and sand on canvas: 26x65 cm. (10i/ 4 x25 1 / 2 in.) 

Private Collection, Switzerland. 

lb - ( ORBEI1 I I DE FRUITS, 1925. Oil and sand on canvas: 18x46 cm. (7 V H X 18 '"■) 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Saint Louis. 

Pl. 32 - COiMPOTIER, BOUTEILLE ET VERRE. 1930. Oil on canvas. 

Private Collection. 



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PL. 33 - LE GUERIDON. 1928. Oil and sand on canvas: 180x73 cm. (70i/ g x28 3/ 4 in.) Saidenberg Gallery, New York. 

Pl. 34 - LE GUERIDON. c. 1928. Oil and sand on canvas. 

Private Collection, Garcht 

PL. 35 - LES BAIGNEUSES. 1931. Oil on canvas: 131 X 195,5 cm. (51 i/ 2 X 77 in.) 

Mr. Edward Bragaline, New York. 

From l l >12 onwards, Braque and his wife 
spent most of their summers in a small villa 
which they rented at Sorgues, near Avignon. 
But, towards the end of the 1920's, Braque 
began to weary of the brilliant meridional 
light and, for a change, took to visiting the 
Normandy coast. In 1931, he moved into a 
house which he had built for himself at Var- 

engeville, near Dieppe, and, except for the 
war years, he has spent every subsequent sum- 
mer there. This change of residence coin- 
cided with a change of style and subject-matter, 
bathers, seascapes and beach-scenes becoming 
favourite themes. Varengeville continues to 
supply the artist with subjects, e.g. plates 53 
and 54. 

l'L. 36 - LES FALAISES. 1938. Oil on canvas: 50 X 65 cm. (19 3/ 4 x 25 l/ 2 in.) 

Mr. and Mrs. L.cigh Block, Chicago. 

Pl. 37 • (OMI'OIIER EI VERRE. 1931. Oil on canvas. 

Private Collection. 

Pl. 38 - NATURE MORTE AUX POMMES. 1933. Oil on canvas: 89x116,5 cm. (35x45 3/ in.) 

Galerie Maeght, Paris. 

• - 

ft. 2 -• ■*-■:&*. 


PL. 39 - LA NAPPE ROUGE. 1933. Oil and sand on canvas: 96,5x130 cm. (38x51 in.) 

Waller P. Chrysler, Warrenton, Virginia. 

Pl. 40 - NATURE MORTE A LA MANDOLINE. 1938. Oil and sand on canvas: 114 X 146 cm. (44i/ 8 X 57 */ 2 in.) 

Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Block, Chicago. 

PL. 11 - Bl VIE DE FEMME. c. 1937. Black chalk: 19 x 13,5 cm. (7 i/ g X 5 l/ 4 

Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

"Profile and silhouette: evolution and progress" — 
this, one of Braque's more puzzling aphorisms, docs 
not really explain why the artist divides his pomes 
vertically down the middle into a dark and light area. 
Some critics have rashly suggested that he was hinting 
at a psychological duality; but the true explanation, 
as nearly always with Braque, is a pictorial one. The 
double profile is a device, deriving from cubism, which 
"ts the artist to indicate form without recourse 

to modelling and perspective, to confront the spectator 
with two aspects of a figure simultaneously, to arti- 
culate an otherwise flat plane and to enhance the de- 
corative effect. Braque's attempt to humanize his work 
by introducing figures into his compositions lasted from 
1936 until 1939. Subsequently he has virtually abandon- 
ed figure-pictures, but — paradoxically — his interiors 
have become the more imbued with life for being peopl- 
ed with inanimate objects instead of human beings. 

Pl. 42 - LE DUO. 1937. Oil and sand on canvas: 130 X 160 cm. (31 i/ g X 63 in.) 

Musee National d'Art Moderne, Paris. 

Pi. 43 MATURE MORTE A LA PALETTE. 1943. Oil and sand on canvas: 50X61 cm. (193 X 29 j n .) 

Galerie Nathan, Zurich. 

Note how Braque used sand in different ways to 
the surfaces oj these two paintings. In the 
still-life above the jug is built up with a very 
thick impasto, so that it stands out in high relief 
and has a rich, tactile quality. In plate 44, on 

the other hand, the artist has primed the whole 
of his canvas with a mixture of sand and gesso 
which gives a dry, matt surface like a fresco. Note 
also how he has run a comb through the paint in 
the background in imitation of wood-graining. 

Pi.. 44 - NATURE MORTE A LA PALETTE. 1939. Oil and sand on canvas. 

Private Collection. 

Pi. 45 - VANITAS. 1938. Oil on canvas: 54x65 cm. (21 1 / i X 25 1/ 2 in.) 

Galerie Charpentier. Paris. 

In 1938 Braque embarked on a series of still 
lifes entitled Valutas, because their subject- 
matter includes such traditional reminders of 
mortality as rosaries, skulls, mirrors and cru- 
cifixes. These allegories, which were inspired 
by 17th century Dutch still-lifes, are sometimes 
said lf> have been intended as oblique tributes 
on the part of the artist to his wife's piety. 
Braque, however, has categorically denied the 

presence of symbols in his work. It would 
seem that the tactile possibilities of these objects 
interested him more than their philosophical 
or religious connotations. This and the paint- 
ing opposite reveal the degree of Braque 's ob- 
session with patterned surfaces in the late 1930's. 
"Ornamentation" lie has said, "helps to free 
colour from form." Papier colle (collage) ser- 
ved a similar pictorial purpose. 

Pl. 46 - PEINTRE ET MODELE. 1939. Oil and sand on canvas: 130 X 175 cm. (51 X 69 in. 

Waller P. Chrysler, Warrenton, Virginia. 

Pi. 47 • L'IMERIEUR: LA TABLE GRISE. 1942. Oil and sand on canvas: 142 X 196 cm. (55 V 8 X 77% in.) Private Collection, Houston. 

When the Germans invaded France in 1940, 
Braque left Paris and took refuge in the Pyr- 
enees, but in the autumn he returned to the 
capital. Fearing that his house might be com- 
mandeered, the artist did not move from Paris 
(or the rest of the war. Inevitably, a feeling 
oj isolation and seclusion communicated itself 
to his work, as zvitness the somewhat melancholy 
and claustrophobic interiors — bedrooms, 
kitchens, studios, salons or bathrooms (e.g. 
plate 50 ) - - which he painted between 1941 
and 1945. After the war he continued to exe- 
cute similar subjects, but the atmosphere is less 

oppressive. Here are two versions of one of 
Braque 's finest wartime interiors. The first 
(opposite) is little more than a subtle arrange- 
ment of coloured planes. The second (above) 
is more atmospheric and complex; passages 
of decoration and heavy impasto have been 
introduced, and, the outline of the top of an 
easel has been superimposed on the compos- 
ition. This device enables the spectator to 
identify himself with the artist and thus feel 
that he is actually seeing through and around 
the easel, and in physical touch with the objects 

PL. 48 - LTNTERIEUR: LA TABLE GRISE. 1941. Oil and sand on canvas: 100 x 100 cm. (393 g x 39 3/ j n .) 

Private Collection, Italy. 

Pi . 19 - LE POELE. 1944. Oil and sand on canvas: 146 X 89 cm. (57 1 2 x 35 in.) Private Collection. 

Pl. 50 - LA TOILETTE AUX CARREAUX VERTS. 194"). Oil and sand on canvas: 162 x 64 cm. (63 V 8 X 25 i in.) 

Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington. 

« * '» 

Pl. 51 - SKETCH FOR "LE Kill. ARD". c. 1944. Black chalk. 

Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

In 1944 Braque started work on a series of Billiard 
Table-,, a series which was frequently interrupted by 
illness. A notable feature of these paintings is a vert- 
ical or, as here, horizontal bend, which articulates the 
table-top and forces the sulfate of it forwards at the 
spectator. If we compare the sketch above with the 
painting opposite — the culminant picture of the 

series — we will be able to appreciate Braque 's 
"metamorphic" way of working. The fish bowl 
(top left) lias turned into what may be a telephone; 
the window at the back has become a framed mirror 
or picture; while tlie lighting-fixture has merged 
with a hat-stand and the "rhyming" outline of the 
hack of a chair. 

PL. 52 - LE BILLARD. 1944-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 195 X 97 cm. (76% X 38 1 4 in.) 

Mr. Jacques Gellman, Mexico City. 

Pl. 53 - LE CHAMP HE BLE. 1950. Oil and sand on canvas: 36,5 X 56 cm. (14 1/. X 22 in.) 

Herr Gustav Zumsteg, Zurich. 

Pl. 54 - BARQUES SUR LA PLAGE. 1949. Oil on canvas: 46 X (31 cm. (18 i/ 8 X 24 in.) 

Mr. Crozer Mat /in, Celigny. 

Pi .55- II. PHILODENDRON. 1951 52. Oil and s.ind on canvas: 129,5x74 cm. (51x29 1 in.) Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington. 

Pl. 56- LA BICYCLETTE. 1951-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 133x78 cm. (52 1 / 4 X30 /, in.) Monsieur Menachem Rosensajt, Montr eux. 

Pl. 57 ■ XL' ALLONGE. 1934. Engraving: 18 x 30 cm. (7 X 1 1 3 , in.) 

I)t 1930-31 when his style and subject-matter 
were undergoing radical changes, Braque em- 
barked on a series of Baigneuses, in which the 
female figure is reduced to a simplified pattern 
of flat arabesques and free, swirling contours. 
Some of these (e.g. plate 35) are interest- 
ing experiments in a decorative vein; others 
do not seem to have pleased the artist, for in 
recent years he destroyed one of the most im- 
portant and repainted two others, one of which 
ime the picture on the opposite page. 
Thanks to the engraving reproduced above, 

which gives us a rough idea of the original 
appearance of the Femme Couchee, it is possible 
to see that the basic forms have not greatly 
changed. The artist has simply re-interpreted 
theni in an idiom which harks bach to "Analyt- 
ical" cubism and yet is a free and arbitrary 
as that of the late Ateliers. As a result, the 
Femme Couchee conveys a far greater experience 
of form and space than the other Baigneuses 
of 1930-31; moreover, it is a unique work; for 
like no other, it synthetizes three phases — early, 
middle, and late - - of Braque's development. 

Pl. 58 - FEMME COUCHEE. 1930-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 73 x 180 cm. (28 3/ x 70 l/ 8 in.) Galerie Maeght, Paris. 


* * 

PL. ".'I • PAGE 1)1 CAHIER. c. 1917. India ink. 

Like plate 58, Ajax (opposite) also relates 
to the <>u rial period, 1930-31, when Braque's 
art branched out in fresh directions. One of 
the new techniques winch he developed was 
to engrave slabs of painted (usually black) plast- 
er with a hieroglyphic design representing a 
mythological deity. Braque first tried out this 
technique, which derives from pre-classical 
Greek intaglios, in a group of four decorative 
murals (1932), then shortly afterwards executed 

a large painting (Odysseus) and a series of 
engravings to illustrate Hesiod's Theogonie in 
the same linear style. Most of the platres 
graves (e.g. figure 7) and lithographs (e.g. the 
Helios series: 1946-47) of similar mythological 
subjects are decorative objects or pleasing 
ideograms. Ajax. however, transcends the 
decorative limitations of the genre; it is 
one of Braque's most original and equivocal 

Pl. 60 - AJAX. 1949-54. Oil on paper: 180x72 cm. (70 l/ s X 28 V 4 i») Mr. and Mrs. Sam Marx, Chicago. 

Pl. <>1 - ATELIER VII (unfinished state), il'hoto Doisneau). 

The above photograph shows the artist at work 
on this picture in 1953 when it was his seventh 
Atelier. He subsequently painted Atelier VIII, 

the culminant painting of the series, and then 
reworked this one into its definitive form (see 
opposite) to which the number IX was assigned. 

PL. 62 - ATELIER IX (ex-VII). 1952-56. Oil on canvas: 145,5 X 146 cm. (57 1 4 X 57 1 2 in.) 

Galerie Maeght, Paris. 

Pi. 63 • L'OISEAU ET SON MD. 1957. Watercolour, gouache, pencil and India ink: 21,5X28,5 cm. (8 ' 2 X 1 1 V 4 in Private Collection, fiance. 

Since 1945 birds have played an increasingly 
important role in Braque's art. After being 
a dominant element in the Ateliers, they 
provided the subject for the Louvre ceiling 
'figure 8) in 1952-53, and for a decoration in a 
villa at Saint-Paul-de-V ence in 1954. Then, 
in the early summer of 1955, Braque visited 
the bird-sanctuary in the Camargue belong- 

ing to his friend Lukas Hoffmann, and urns 
greatly impressed by the spectacle of flamin- 
gos, egrets and, other birds flying about under 
a heavy shy. This experience indirectly in- 
spired a number of works in different media, 
including A Tire d'Aile (plate 67) and 
these ttvo evocations of a bird alighting on 
its nest. 

Pl. 64 - L'OISEAU ET SON NID. 1957-58. Oil and sand on canvas: 113 X 131 cm. (44 i ■„ X 51 i in.) 

Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

PL. 65 • NATURE MORTE A LA SERVIETTE, c. 1947. Oil on paper mounted on canvas: 49x63 cm. (19 */ 4 X 24 3/^ in.) Matthiesen Gallery, London. 

Pl. 66 - PICHET, HUITRES ET SERVIETTE. 1954-57. Oil on canvas: 60 X 73 cm. (23 5 8 X 28 3 / 8 in.) 

Mile. Marietta Lacliand, Paris. 


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Pi . 67 - A TIRE D'AILE. 1956. Oil and sand on canvas mounted on three-ply: 115 X 171 cm. (45 1 i. X 67 1/4 '»•) Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris. 

Pi. 68 - LOISEAU. 1958. Oil on canvas: 82x1.63 cm. (32V, X 64 1 . in 1 r , ■ ** u „ ■ 

<* -1 ' Galerte Maeght, Paris. 



Le Cote de Grace, Honfleur. 1905. Oil on canvas: 50 X 60 cm. (19 7„ X 23 V s in.) - Musee 

ties Beaux-Arts, Le Havre Plate 1 

L'Estaque. 1906. Oil on canvas: 46x38 cm. (18 7 g X 15 in.) - Private Collection, Basel . Plate 2 

La Calanque, La Ciotat. Summer 1907. Oil on canvas: 60x73 cm. (23 7 S x 28 7 4 in.) - 

Perls Gallery, New York Plate 3 

Vue de VHotel Mistral, L'Estaque. Autumn 1907. Oil on canvas: 80x60 cm. (3r/.,x237 s 

in.) - Mr. and Mrs. Werner E. Josten, New York Plate 4 

Nature morte aux instruments de niusique. Autumn 1908. Oil on canvas: 50 X 61 cm. 

(19 7 4 x 24 in.) - Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris Plate 5 

Guitare et compotier. 1909. Oil on canvas: 55 x 38 cm. ( 217., x 15 in.) - Hermann and 

Margrit Rupf Stiftung, Berne Plate 6 

La Roche-Guyon, Le Chateau. Summer 1909. Oil on canvas: 80 X 60 cm. (31 7 4 x 23 5 / s in.) 

- Monsieur Rolf de Mare, Stockholm Plate 7 

Les Arbres a L'Estaque. Summer 1908. Oil on canvas: 80x60 cm. (SI 7 4 X 23 7 S in.) - 

Private Collection, France Plate 8 

Nature morte: Fox. 1911. Engraving: 55x38 cm. (21 7., x 15 in.) Plate 9 

Bouteille et verre. 1911. Oil on canvas: 55x^8 cm. (21 '/., x 15 in.) - Hermann and 

Margrit Rupf Stiftung, Berne Plate 10 

L'homme au violon. Winter 1911. Oil on canvas: 100x71 cm. (39 i / 4 x 28 in.) - Heirs 

of Herr Emil Biihrle, Zurich Plate 1 1 

L'homme au guitare. 1914. Oil and sand on canvas: 130x72,5 cm. (51 1 / X 28 1 / in.) - 

Monsieur Andre Lefevre, Paris Plate 12 

Nature morte aux des. 1912. Black chalk: 25x32 cm. (9 7 4 X12 7„ in.) - Private Col- 
lection, France Plate 13 

La bouteille de rhum. 1914. Oil and charcoal on canvas: 46 x 55 cm. (18 7 8 x 21 7., in.) - 

Private Collection, Garches Plate 14 

Violon et pipe. Winter 1912. Collage, and charcoal: 72 x 104 cm. (28 7 4 x 41 in.) - Mon- 
sieur Andre Lefevre, Paris Plate 15 

Guitare et clarinette. 1918. Collage, charcoal and gouache on cardboard: 77 x 95 cm. 
(30 7 4 x 37 7 S i n -) - The Philadelphia Museum of Art (Louise and Walter Arensberg 
Collection) Plate 16 

Nature morte au guitare. 1913-14. Oil, charcoal and sand on canvas: 55x38 cm. 

(21 7., X 15 in.) - Private Collection, New York Plate 17 

Nature morte au guitare. 1918. Oil and sand on canvas: 91 x 55 cm. (35 7 4 x 21 7 8 in.) - 

Private Collection, France Plate 18 

Guitare, journal et verre. 1917. India ink: 18x27,5 cm. (7xl07 4 in.) - Private Col- 
lection, France Plate 19 

Le gueridon noir. 1919. Oil and sand on canvas: 75 x 130 cm. (29 7., x 51 7 8 in.) - Musee 

National d'Art Moderne, Paris Plate 20 

Clarinette, compotier et guitare. 1918. Oil on canvas: 73x100 cm. (28 3 / 4 x 39 3 / s in-) - 
kunstmuseum, Basel Plate 21 

Nature morte au gueridon: "Cafe-Bar". 1919. Oil and sand on canvas: 160 x 82 cm. 

(63x32 ] / 4 in.) - Kunstmuseum, Basel Plate 22 

Corot - Portrait de Christine Nilsson. 1874. Oil on canvas: 80 x 57 cm. (31 7„ x 22 7 2 in.) 

- Museu de Arte, Sao Paulo Plate 23 

Souvenir de Corot. c. 1922-23. Oil on canvas: 41x33 cm. (16 7 s xl3 in.) - Monsieur 

Georges Braque, Paris Plate 24 

Design for "Les Fdcheux" (never executed). 1924. Pencil and watercolour - Wadsworth 

Athenaeum, Hartford Plate 25 

Canepkorc. 1925. Oil and sand on canvas: 100x81 cm. (39 7., x 32 in.) - National Gal- 
lery of Art, Washington (Chester Dale Collection) Plate 26 

Anemones. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas - Private Collection Plate 27 

Bouteille, verre et fruits. 1924. Oil and sand on panel: 53x55 cm. (20 7 g X 21 7 8 in.) - 

Lord Amulree, London Plate 28 

Mandoline, verre, picket et fruits. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas: 80x114 cm. 

(31 7., 11 7 s in.) - Tate Gallery, London Plate 29 

Guitare, picket et fruits. 1927. Oil and sand on canvas: 73,5 x 91,5 cm. (29 x 36 in.) 

- Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln Schuster, New York Plate 30 

Nature morte aux fruits. 1924. Oil and sand on canvas: 26x65 cm. (10 7 4 x 25 7 2 i n -) - 

Private Collection, Switzerland Plate 31 a 

Corbeille de fruits. 1925 Oil and sand on canvas: 18x46 cm. (7 7 8 x 18 in.) - Mr. and 

Mrs. Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Saint Louis Plate 31 b 

Compotier, bouteiile et verre. 1930. Oil on canvas. - Private Collection Plate 32 

Le gueridon. 1928. Oil and sand on canvas: 180x73 cm. (70 7 s x 28 7 4 in.) - Saiden- 

berg Gallery, New York Plate 33 

Le gueridon. c. 1928. Oil and sand on canvas - Private Collection, Garches .... Plate 34 

Les baigneuses. 1931. Oil on canvas: 131 x 195,5 cm. (51 7, x 77 in.) - Mr. Edward Bra- 

galine, New York Plate 35 

Les falaises. 1938. Oil on canvas: 50x65 cm. (19 7„x25 7, in.) - Mr. and Mrs. Leigh 

Block, Chicago Plate 36 

Compotier et verre. 1931. Oil on canvas - Private Collection Plate 37 

Nature morte aux pommes. 1933. Oil on canvas: 89 x 116,5 cm. (35 x 45 V 4 in.) - Galerie 

Maeght, Paris Plate 38 

La nappe rouge. 1933. Oil and sand on canvas: 96,5 x 130 cm. (38 x 51 in.) - Walter P. 

Chrysler, Warrenton, Virginia Plate 39 

Nature morte a la mandoline. 1938. Oil and sand on canvas: 114x146 cm. (447 S X577„ in.) 
Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Block, Chicago Plate 40 

Buste de femme. c. 1937. Black chalk: 19 x 13,5 cm. (7 1 / 2 X5 1 / t in.) - Monsieur Georges 

Braque, Paris Plate 41 

Le duo. 1937. Oil and sand on canvas: 130 x 160 cm. (51 7 S x 63 in.) - Musee National 

d'Art Moderne, Paris Plate 42 

Suture morte a la palette. 1943. Oil and sand on canvas: 50x61 cm. (19 7„x29 in.) - 

Galerie Nathan, Zurich Plate 43 

Nature morte d la palette. 1939. Oil and sand on canvas - Private Collection . . . Plate 44 

Vanitas. 1938. Oil on canvas: 5-1x65 cm. (21 ', 4 x 25 '/., in.) - Galerie Charpentier, Paris Pi vte 45 

Peintre et modele. 1939. Oil and sand on canvas: 130 x 175 cm. (51 x 69 in.) - Walter 

P. Chrysler, Warrenton, Virginia Pi vie 46 

L'interieur: La table grise. 1942. Oil and sand on canvas: 1 -12 x 196 cm. (55 '/ s x 77 7 S 

in.) - Private Collection, Houston Plate 47 

L'interieur: La tabic grise. 1941. Oil and sand on canvas: 100 X 100 cm. (39 7 S x 39 7 S 

in.) - Private Collection, Italy Plate 48 

Le Poele. 1944. Oil and sand on canvas: 146x89 cm. (57 '/., X 35 in.) - Private Collection Plate 49 

La toilette aux carreattx verts. 1945. Oil and sand on canvas: 162x64 cm. (63 '/ s x 25 7 4 

in.) - Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington Plate 50 

Sketch for "Le billard". c. 1944. Black chalk - Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris . . . Plate 51 

Le billard. 19-11-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 195x97 cm. (76 7 4 x 38 '/„ in.) - Mr. Jac- 
ques Gellman, Mexico City Plate 52 

Le champ de ble. 1950. Oil and sand on canvas: 36,5x56 cm. (147, X 22 in.) - Herr 

Gustav Zumsteg, Zurich Plate 53 

Barques sur la plage. 1949. Oil on canvas: 46 x 61 cm. (18 7 8 x 24 in.) - Mr. Cro/er 

Martin, Celigny Plate 54 

Le plulodendron. 1951-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 129,5x74 cm. (51 x 29 7 4 in.) - 

Phillips Memorial Gallery, Washington Plate 55 

La bicyclcttc. 1951-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 133x78 cm. (52 7 4 x 30 7 4 in.) - Mon- 
sieur Menachem Rosensalt, Montreux Plate 56 

Nu allonge. 1934. Engraving: 18 x 30 cm. (7x11 */ t in.) Plate 57 

Femme couchee. 1930-52. Oil and sand on canvas: 73x180 cm. (28 7 4 x 70 7 S in.) - 

Galerie Maeght, Paris Plate 58 

Page du cahier. c. 1947. India ink Plate 59 

Ajax. 1949-54. Oil on paper: 180x72 cm. (70 7 s x 28 7 4 in.) - Mr. and Mrs. Sam Marx, 

Chicago Plate 60 

Atelier I'll (unfinished slate). (Photo Doisneau) Plate 61 

Atelier IX (ex.-VII). 1952-56. Oil on canvas: 145,5x146 cm. (57 7, x 57 '/., in.) - Ga- 
lerie Maeght, Paris Plate 62 

L'oiscau et son nid. 1957. Watercolour, gouache, pencil and India ink: 21,5x28,5 cm. 

(8 7 2 x 11 7 4 in.) - Private Collection, France Plate 63 

L'oiscau et son nid. 1957-58. Oil and sand on canvas: 113 x 131 cm. (44 7.. x 51 7- in -) 

- Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris Plate 64 

Nature morte a la serviette, c. 1947. Oil on paper mounted on canvas: 49 X 63 cm. 

(19 7 4 x24 7 4 in.) - Matthiesen Gallery, London Plate 65 

Picket, huitres et serviette. 1954-57. Oil on canvas: 60x73 cm. (23 7 S x 28 7 g in.) - 

Mile. Mariette Lachaud, Paris Plate 66 

A tire d'ailc. 1956. Oil and sand on canvas mounted on three-ply: 115x171 cm. 

(45 V 4 x 67 7 4 in.) - Monsieur Georges Braque, Paris Plate 67 

L'oiscau. 1958. Oil on canvas: 82 x 163 cm. (32 7 4 x 64 7 4 in.) - Galerie Maeght, Paris . Plate 68 







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